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Album Review: Jesus Is King by Kanye West

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After some mixing issues with his album, Kanye West finally released his long-anticipated album, Jesus Is King. After scrapping (or changing the title) Yandhi, Kanye West comes out with his ninth studio album. He has also been a part of a few collaborative albums, such as Watch The Throne with Jay-Z and one of the more recent ones, Kids See Ghosts with Kid Cudi. Despite the political attention he's been getting from the media, a lot of people seem to be raving over this album. A lot of the tracks are pretty short, with most of them being under three minutes, but he sure can put a lot of effort into an album that is shorter than half an hour.

The first track on the album is Every Hour which features his Sunday Service Choir. After listening to this song, you can tell that there is a different tone with this album. Kanye West admitted that this album was going to have more of a gospel feel to it. Kanye actually doesn't appear on the track, but had some part in writing the lyrics/instrumentals for the track. The track talks about praising the Lord all the time, every single hour of your day.

After the chorus opens up the album, Kanye comes in with Selah. He opens up with a quick reference to a track on one of his previous albums, Ultralight Beam. The first verse also mentions some verses from the book of John and how Jesus has set him free. Kanye also talks about how everyone wanted Yandhi, but he changed his mind and scrapped the project for Jesus Is King. The choir comes back in for the chorus of the song singing, "Hallelujah." In the second verse, there are some more biblical references which are a huge reference point in this album.

Follow God is one of the harder-hitting tracks on this album. This brings us back to some of the more classic Kanye West instrumentals. Kanye gives us some clever lines and wordplay that really brings out the best in him. On this track, he talks about his struggles to stay faithful and his struggles in the past. Despite his faults, he is always trying to remain faithful since he is rediscovering his faith.

To say I didn't cringe the first time I listened to Closed On Sunday, I would be lying. I was listening to this track on my way home from work and I just started to burst out laughing when Kanye came in. I am not sure if Chick-fil-A paid Kanye for this, but I guess it is free advertising if they didn't. The track also refers to Sunday being a "rest-day" since it is the Sabbath day.

On God is another up-beat banger on the album. This track is produced by none other than Pi'erre Bourne. On this track, Kanye references a lot of the things he has said in the past, such as things that included slavery and his support for President Trump. He also notes that he is successful because of God and owes Him thanks.

Everything We Need features some soothing vocals from Ty Dolla $ign and Ant Clemons. The track opens up with those two singing the introduction. The original version, which appeared on a leaked version of Yandhi, featured XXXTENTACION. However, that version was replaced since it included profane language and messages that would not be appropriate for Jesus Is King. This track talks about changing your attitude and starting a new life. It also talks about being grateful for what you have with the vocals, "We have everything we need."

Water is a catchy tune that has a funk-influenced beat. In religious terms, water is something that represents purity and is used in baptism ceremonies. Kanye also talks about how Jesus has provided everything for us. The Sunday Service choir is another thing that makes this track even better, but I wish they were incorporated more throughout the album.

God Is features a sample from James Cleveland's version of God Is. This is one of the longer tracks on the album and is one of the most soulful ones on the album. Throughout the vocals on this track, you can really feel the emotion being put into the lyrics. Also, this is the only track on the album that features a curse word.

Hands On is the next track off the album. The beginning opens up with Fred Hammond using an "auto-tune" like feature. Again, Kanye keeps on with the biblical references and gospel theme. He references the 13th amendment, as well as referencing a past song from Yeezus titled On Sight. He also talks about how Christians are going to judge him for this album and think that he might not truly know who Jesus is.

Use This Gospel had me surprised with a feature I thought I would have never seen on a Kanye West album: Kenny G. Kenny G is an American musician known for playing the saxophone. Kenny G doesn't really have a huge part until the middle of the track when the beat cuts out and he has a saxophone solo that is centered around the melody of the track. The beginning of the track opens up with a repeated note with some auto-tuned vocals. There is a surprising feature from Pusha T on this track since he is usually known for his lines about drugs. However, he thanks Jesus for his fortune, wealth, and life.

One of my favorite tracks instrumentally off this album is the last track, Jesus Is Lord. The grand horn section just brings a heightened sense of relief and happiness. On top of that, Kanye West's singing just fits perfectly over the instrumentation. My only complaint is that it is too short. It seems like the track just cuts off abruptly at the end, leaving the listener wanting more.

Besides having a different direction, Kanye really knows how to make fans happy with whatever he decides to do musically. Let me know what you thought of the album down below!
Overall Rating: 8/10
Favorite Tracks: Selah, Follow God, On God, Everything We Need, Jesus Is Lord

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